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'Cars will be built in Trollhättan': Saab buyers

TT/AFP/The Local · 13 Jun 2012, 17:27

Published: 13 Jun 2012 17:27 GMT+02:00

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“We have a world–class plant and a lot of expertise in this area. That is decisive element,” said NEVS chairman Karl-Erling Trogen during Wednesday’s press conference.

But that the car will be manufactured in Trollhättan doesn’t mean that the first car NEVS produces will bear the Saab logo. Nor will its key market be Sweden but rather China, according to NEVS spokesperson Mattias Bergman.

"NEVS aims to become a leading manufacturer of electric vehicles," the company said on Wednesday.

NEVS, which is 51-percent owned by Hong Kong-based alternative energy specialist National Modern Energy Holdings and 49-percent owned by Japanese investment firm Sun Investment LLC, was "established for the purpose of acquiring the assets of the Saab Automobile bankruptcy estate," according to the statement.

The company explained that it planned to create a new model based on the current Saab 9-3, "which will be modified for electric drive using advanced EV (electric vehicle) technology from Japan."

It is hoped that the new car should be rolled out at the end of 2013 or beginning of 2014. This will mean that the company will have to take on more staff.

“Initially we’ll be recruiting engineers and management. We’ll get help from Japanese and Chinese engineers and develop a good cooperation with a consultancy firm with former Saab employees,” Trogen said.

”We’ll start with a few hundred at least, but I can’t say much more at this point.”

Saab filed for bankruptcy in December last year. It was already on the brink of bankruptcy when GM sold it in early 2010 to Dutch company Swedish Automobile (SWAN) - at the time called Spyker - for $400 million (308 million euros).

Bankruptcy administrators said in April that Saab had assets to cover only just over a third of its debt of 13 billion kronor ($1.8 billion, 1.5 billion euros).

"The sale to NEVS is our most important action to realise the assets of the estate," Anne-Marie Pouteaux, one of the Saab administrators said in Wednesday's statement, adding "we are very pleased today, having reached this agreement."

Swedish union IF Metall, to which many Saab workers belong, hailed the agreement and the new owners' innovative spirit.

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"It's exciting to focus on electric vehicles, which are very timely in an international perspective," the union said in a statement.

"We have too few electric cars on the road in Sweden and are far behind many countries. With this new focus, new export opportunities will likely open up," it said.

Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven also welcomed the deal, during a press conference on Wednesday that it is “good for Trollhättan, for the region and for Sweden”.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:55 June 13, 2012 by towns
Manhattan ain't got nuthin' on Trollhättan (sorry, I couldn't resist).
20:07 June 13, 2012 by NyDag
It's good that they are not relocating the place, keeping the jobs in Sweden where they belong.
21:57 June 13, 2012 by grace89
is his name Kai Johan Jing? His name is Jiang Dalong according to lots of chinese news.
02:56 June 14, 2012 by rolfkrohna
Only approved names can be used in China and Kai and Johan are not approved as names in China. However, you hare allowed to call yourself whatever you like, even if it not an approved name. His legal name in China is Jiang Dalong, where Jiang is the family name, and it is OK to use the names Kai Johan both in Sweden and China. Chinese names are defined in Chinese writing characters which can be pronounced differently depending on which Chinese language are used and so be completely different when written in western way.
17:58 June 15, 2012 by saabdude
Stick a fork in them...they're done. This is the end of SAAB as we know it.

Too bad...it's been fun being a SAAB owner since 1978. I will never own an EV...ever.
01:03 June 23, 2012 by Escort
Sounds like yet another half-hearted attempt to revive a dead corpse. Who exactly will want to buy an electric SAAB when there is so much talented competition from REAL car companies? SAAB now has zero image in the West and that's the way it will stay.
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